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When the Invasion of Land FailedThe Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions$
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George McGhee,

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160575

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160575.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 14 June 2021

The Evolution of Life on Land

The Evolution of Life on Land

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Evolution of Life on Land
When the Invasion of Land Failed

George R. McGhee

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the earliest microorganisms that lived on land in the Archaean and Proterozoic Eons. For over 3,000 million years, life on Earth was confined to the oceans, and the land areas of the planet looked like the rocky landscapes of Mars. Definitive proof exists that microbial life was present on land 1,200 million years ago. Mats of microbial unicellular plants, animals, and fungi moved away from major river channels to the nearest lands, and thus survived on moisture provided by rainfall alone. These microbes then started a biogeochemical process that resulted in the creation of soil—an important factor that contributes to the indwelling of multicellular plant on land.

Keywords:   Archaean Eon, Proterozoic Eon, microorganisms, Earth, Mars, land, microbial unicellular plants, biogeochemical process, soil creation

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